I’ve had STRESS this week–the kind that makes you see red and feel blue all at once. I apologize for being unable to discuss the whys; other people’s business is not for me to air on the interwebs. But I have literally broken out into an itchy mess over it. Not okay! What’s a princess to do with a stuffed brain and unsightly skin? Here’s some things I’ve tried. I’d love to hear your suggestions!

1) Meds
As much as I hate using drugs, there’s a certain point at which I feel the need to go nuclear. So before I get into the recommendations below, I’ll state for the record that I have used anti-histamines and hydrocortisone once this week. Because, jimminy, sometimes even a crunchy DIY nut like myself needs more instant relief than DIY can deliver. But since then, I’ve been attempting to tackle the problem with less chemically solutions.

2) Yoga

Brown haired woman doing Eagle pose, right leg twisted over left and right arm twisted under left.

Eagle Pose. Yeah. I can sort of do this.

There’s evidence that in addition to giving you a flexible back and better balance, yoga can lower stress and help beat depression and anxiety. I’ve started trying a short yoga routine in the morning including poses from this article on HuffPo. (You should see me trying to do eagle pose. The hilarity of it is a stress relief in and of itself!)

3) Get enough sleep
I know when things are crazy, the last thing that’s easy to do is get some zzzzzs. But I’ve started reminding myself that except in extreme circumstances, I get more done with a higher quality if I carve out time for sleep. As soon as sleep starts falling by the wayside, so does my ability to deal–both mentally and physically. Using blackout curtains has really helped TheScott and I go to sleep more quickly. So does maintaining a consistent bedtime and staying clear of sugar and caffeine after 4pm (although we try to steer clear of sugar in general; dropping sugar and sugar-like substances from my daily diet has helped me sleep more than anything else I’ve ever tried!).

4) Eat healthy–within reason.
When I’m stressed, I want a martini. And cheese. And cinnamon rolls. And I donwanna cook! It would be so easy for me to completely blow my diet and downward spiral into a mess. In the past I’ve tried tightening up during stressful times, and that only seems to make things worse! I’m slowly figuring out a balance. First off, I don’t touch a scale when I’m stressed. There is no need for that on top of everything else! Second off, I keep myself supplemented up with vitamins and antioxidants, particularly Quercetin and Vitamin C, my go-to combo for battling histamine. TheScott and I  treat ourselves to one more eat-out meal than normal during the week (we usually go twice a week). And at home I stick to whole foods that are easy to prepare–like grilled meats and sauted veggies–so I’m not adding to my stress with a challenging dinner plan. Finally, I make sure I get healthy food, but give myself a little extra cheat room. The mental health that comes from a carefully-chosen treat–like a small square of my favorite dessert–helps me battle the blues without crashing later from the impact of, oh, mindlessly downing a bag of Hershy’s Kisses!

5) Sunshine
Even twenty minutes outside, taking a walk or working on a project, blows away so much of my blues and makes me feel like I can tackle anything. I have no idea what it is or why it works, but on bad days, I have to open the windows while inside and make getting outside–even for a little bit–a top priority. Today we’re supposed to be getting Austin Snowmageddon: The Return of Fimbulwinter. Maybe my outdoor time will include a mini-snowman!

What do you do to battle stress and stress-related health issues?

~Featured Image: A black and white photo of a woman portraying the emotion of stress, by Becky Wetherington